Independent Voter Project was proud to co-host an important meeting among reformers including the Centrist Project, Level the Playing Field, Represent.us, FairVote, the Bridge Alliance, and former independent candidate for Senate Greg Orman. They were joined by independent-minded individuals and members of nonpartisan organizations from across the country.
Perhaps what is more important than anything we can do individually, is to recognize our collective strength and opportunity in challenging an institutionalized and rigid system. The event this weekend was another important step in creating the conditions for a more unified effort.
The event included three panels and a number of reform leaders. The first panel discussed how nonpartisan associations could collaborate formally to amplify their efforts. The panel was moderated by IVP Colorado’s Jim Jonas and featured:
Nick Troiano - Executive Director, Centrist Project
Jackie Salit - President, IndependentVoting.org
Joel Searby - Founder and President, Sycamore Lane Company
Chad Peace - Attorney, Independent Voter Project
The second panel focused on what techniques and efforts worked and didn’t work in 2016. It was moderated by Josh Silver of Represent.Us and panelists included:
Margaret White - Executive Director, No Labels
Kyle Bailey - Campaign Manager, Yes On 5/Committee for Ranked Choice Voting
Cara McCormick - President, Level the Playing Field
Dan Howle - Co-Chair, Independent Voter Project
The final panel discussed goals for 2018 and beyond. Nick Troiano from the Centrist Project served as moderator, with input from the following panelists:
David Nevins - President & Co-Director, Bridge Alliance
Katherine Gehl - Former President & CEO, Gehl Foods, Inc.
Daniel Krassner - Political Director, Represent.Us
Greg Orman - 2014 US Senate Candidate and Author of A Declaration of Independents
In addition to the panels, the conference featured breakout sessions that allowed for an open exchange of ideas in the areas of election reform, voter engagement, media and voter education, fundraising independent efforts, independent candidates, and building a nonpartisan infrastructure.
Select attendees were also given an opportunity to present projects that represent the diversity of efforts all working toward a better government and electoral system, including:
American Promise has made substantial progress on passage of a 28th amendment aimed at regulating spending in elections
Representative Kent Ackley recently conducted a successful campaign to become the only independent in Maine’s House of Representatives.
Iowa State Senator David Johnson put principle over party loyalty when he recently left his party and became an independent, making him the only non-affiliated member of the Iowa state legislature.
Finally, the group took a step back and put the nonpartisan activities of individual efforts into the collective perspective. In that context, the attendees universally agreed that the time is now to tackle structural reform.